Science

Solar panels made with tomato pigment get a boost in

Lycopene, which makes fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes red, improves the efficiency of perovskite solar cells

Chemistry



30 May 2022

Tomato

A tomato

D and S Food Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

The chemical that makes tomatoes red could also improve the efficiency and stability of solar panels.

Most commercial solar cells are silicon-based, but a new generation of solar cells made from thin films of perovskite, a titanium and calcium crystal, promise greater efficiencies and are easier to work with. However, perovskites degrade far more quickly than silicon-based cells, so improvements in stability are highly sought after.

Donglei Zhou at Jilin University in Changchun, China, and his colleagues chose to add lycopene, a pigment found in tomatoes and other …


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